The Top Health and Fitness Mistakes Most People Make

Even if you stick to a strict diet and fitness routine, it’s possible you aren’t actually as healthy as you may think. Many of your daily habits and rituals could actually be harmful to your health. To help check yourself before you wreck yourself, here are six health mistakes you’re probably making.

1. Your fitness foods aren’t keeping you fit

granola bars

A granola bar isn’t as healthy as you think. | iStock.com

When it comes to staying fit, why wouldn’t you reach for granola bars or cereal that promote a healthy lifestyle on the packaging? Well as it turns out, according to a study, these “nutritious foods” aren’t keeping you as healthy as you may think. In the study, researchers found that “fitness” foods caused consumers to eat more and work out less. So the next time you chow down on a Clif bar before a workout, just remember the food itself won’t help you lose weight. You still need to put in the legwork to burn off calories.

2. You forget to breathe

a man meditating

Meditating and breathing is important. | Thinkstock

Whether you’re angry, stressed, or even just constantly on the move, one of the quickest things we forgo in our daily routine is breathing. Forgetting to inhale is a huge mistake, since it’s one of our body’s most powerful health-maintaining mechanisms. Try to make it a habit to focus on your breathing during the day — whether it’s during your commute, workout, or even while you’re sitting in the office. While it can be hard to add healthy breathing into your daily ritual, try some of these exercises, and soon you’ll be inhaling and exhaling your way to a healthier day.

3. You browse the internet before bed

woman who can't sleep

This practice will hinder your sleep. | Thinkstock

Do often find yourself feeling groggy when you wake up in the morning? Do you also browse Facebook in bed before drifting to sleep? Well your late-night surf-sessions could be the cause of your subpar sleep. According to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, using a light-emitting electronic device in the hours before bed can adversely affect your health, alertness, and circadian clock which regulates your sleep patterns. To get some better shut-eye, make a point to keep your eyes away from screens at least an hour before you plan to go to bed.

4. You don’t drink water

a glass of water

Water is super important to your health. | iStock.com

No matter how healthy the rest of your diet may be, one of the most commonly forgotten factors in an adult’s diet is H2O. To combat this pattern, swap out the sugary drinks for water, and start your day with a glass or two of agua.

5. You immediately exercise after waking up

woman exercising outdoors

Don’t forget breakfast. | iStock.com/twinsterphoto

One of the best ways to squeeze in your daily workout is getting it out of the way first thing in the morning. But for most people, early exercise means neglecting breakfast. This is a major health mistake considering eating a healthy breakfast first thing in the morning is the best way to jump-start your metabolism. So instead of forgoing food in order to go for a morning run, set your alarm clock a bit earlier than usual. Chow down on a bowl of oatmeal or piece of toast with peanut butter and banana. Even this simple meal will give you the energy you need to have a better workout and burn more calories throughout the day.

6. You’re stuck on supplements

whey protein powder

Protein powder isn’t always the way to go. | iStock.com

Sure, you go for a mix of supplements to help you bulk up — it’s not like you’re doing steroids or anything, so what’s the harm? A study explored the health risks of taking too many supplements and found the impact can be frightening. Researchers found that of the 195 men who consumed legal performance-enhancing supplements (whey protein, creatine, L-carnitine, etc.), more than 40% indicated their use of supplements had increased over time and 22% indicated that they replaced regular meals with dietary supplements not intended to be meal replacements.

On the more extreme side, 3% had even been hospitalized for kidney or liver problems related to supplement overuse. In short, the use of supplements has become overwhelming in our culture. While they’re fine in moderation, make sure you’re not using supplements in place of real, nutritious food. Instead of focusing on pumping up the supplements, opt to pump more iron at the gym.